Making a SEPA transfer from a bank

France By Fabien Lesage September 20, 2022

Article summary

Sending money to friends and family within the eurozone is easy with a SEPA bank transfer. Whether they live in Spain, Switzerland or San Marino, a SEPA transfer can help you send and receive euros (€) to an EU bank account outside of France.

Maybe you need to send urgent support to a relative or surprise your friend with a financial gift to mark a special occasion? Whatever the reason, a SEPA bank transfer can help.

Read on to find out more about bank transfers within the SEPA network, and learn how to make a SEPA transfer from your own bank account.


In this article


What is a SEPA bank transfer?

A SEPA – or Single Euro Payments Area – bank transfer lets you send and receive cross-border payments in euros. It works the same way as a domestic bank transfer, so long as both countries are inside the eurozone.

Currently, there are 36 countries within the SEPA network, including France and other members of the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The UK is also considered part of SEPA.

There are two main types of SEPA bank transfers, depending on your needs:

  • Credit transfer – lets you send a one-off cross-border payment from one bank account to another, using the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) for each account. Money usually arrives in the receiver’s account within one business day.
  • Direct debit – used for recurring payments, such as rent and energy bills. The receiver must request the funds from the sender, then a mandate is signed to authorise automatic transfers going forward. This type of SEPA transfer usually takes a minimum of two to three business days to complete.


Making a SEPA bank transfer from a bank

One of the ways you can make a SEPA bank transfer is at your local bank branch. But how does it work? Follow this step-by-step breakdown to help you make a SEPA bank transfer:

  1. First things first, you’ll need to make sure you have the receiver’s bank information. This usually includes their full name, IBAN and country. You may also need their SWIFT or Business Identifier Code (BIC).
  2. Head to your most convenient bank branch with the above information and your own bank account details, and the agent will process your SEPA bank transfer.
  3. The agent should confirm any additional costs, such as transfer fees – this is usually the same as for a domestic transfer – and currency exchange charges if the country is not a eurozone member.
  4. You’ll then receive a money transfer timeframe, which is usually around one business day – unless both the sending and receiving bank offer ‘SEPA Instant’, which takes around 10 seconds.

If you don’t want to speak to an agent at your branch, you can also use the automatic teller machines (ATMs) at a bank to connect to your online service and do the SEPA bank transfer that way. You’ll still need the same details on hand.


Other ways to do a SEPA transfer

There are some alternative ways to make a SEPA bank transfer, such as:

  • Using online banking.
  • Calling an agent.
  • Through a money transfer service like Western Union.

You can simply choose the method that’s most convenient for you and your receiver.


FAQs and guides